The West Nile Chief Magistrate, Joseph Omodo-Nyanga, has withdrawn from a case in which six people are accused of burning the Adjumani home of the State Minister for Environment, Jessica Eriyo.
Rioting broke out in Adjumani in February, following the death of Eriyo's sole challenger for the District Woman MP seat, Clara Vuni. Vuni was killed in an accident involving Eriyo's vehicle and many of her supporters claimed the accident was deliberately orchestrated.
Eriyo accuses the former Adjumani LC5 vice chairperson, Phillip Mondia, a district councilor, Sara Tolu and four others of coordinating the violence that led to the burning of her house and that of her driver.
During the hearing of the case in Adjumani on Tuesday, Chief Magistrate Omono-Nyanga, made the surprise announcement that he was withdrawing from the case. He said he came to his decision after Eriyo told the High Court Registrar, Lawrence Gidudu, that he had taken a bribe of 1.2 million shillings from the accused persons to handle the case in their favour.
Eriyo also claimed that Omondo-Nyanga gave two of the suspects a ride in his car from Arua to Adjumani on June 18th and held a lengthy meeting with them in his room that night.
The Chief Magistrate described the minister's claims as malicious and baseless and threatened to institute case of criminal offense and libel against her.
//Cue in: iSo for those reasons #i
Cue out: i# High Court against her.i//
Eriyo could not be reached for a comment as she is reportedly out of the country.
Philip Mondia, one of the accused, denies ever offering a bribe to the Chief Magistrate to rule in his favor. He says he will also sue Eriyo for giving false information and criminal libel.